Can grandparents see their grandchildren now and help with childcare?

15 weeks down the line and lots of restrictions have now been eased, so can grandparents see their grandchildren now?
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  • The coronavirus pandemic has meant that families have been separated for four long months this year.

    Following the lockdown on the 23rd March, the older lockdown rules meant that the public were not permitted to see members of their family outside of their household – which meant that many grandparents were no longer able to see their grandchildren.

    15 weeks down the line and lots of restrictions have now been eased, so can grandparents see their grandchildren now? And, can they hug them too?

    Can grandparents see their grandchildren now?

    Can grandparents see their grandchildren after four long months? The short answer is that in most parts of the UK: yes, you can. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announced recently that two households can now finally meet inside. It means that grandparents can now visit the home of one of their children, and as such, their grandchildren. They can visit the home indoors and stay overnight, too.

    When can grandparents help with childcare?

    Credit: Getty Images

    Prime minister, Boris Johnson has said, “In that spirit we advise that from 4 July, two households of any size should be able to meet in any setting inside or out. That does not mean they must always be the same two households.

    “It will be possible for instance to meet one set of grandparents one weekend, and the others the following weekend.”

    Many grandparents across the UK have been desperate to be reunited with much-loved grandchildren, after weeks and weeks of separation and conversations over video calls.

    However, it is worth noting that in the new lockdown areas in Northern England, households should now not meet outside or inside, unless they are within a support bubble.

    With the flu vaccine now being offered to 30 million people across England, the government is also hoping that the programme will hope to protect those vulnerable as the flu season comes around.

    Can grandparents look after grandchildren?

    Yes, grandparents can provide children for their grandchildren now, as they are allowed inside the home of one other household. Grandchildren can also visit their home for childcare if they prefer too. However, they won’t be able to head to soft play areas for some weeks yet.

    This comes as a relief for many many working parents, for whom lockdown has been a complicated and difficult juggling act – attempting to home school and do their job. And for parents who – pre Covid-19 – relied on their parents to help with childcare, it has also been a difficult balance.

    MORE: Where to buy kids’ face masks and how to talk to your children about wearing them

    While we may be able to visit loved ones indoors, the government still advises that people maintain social distancing rules.

    Can grandparents hug their grandchildren now?

    Hugging is not encouraged, as doing so does not maintain the 1-meter distance rule. This means that, technically, most grandparents are still not able to hug their grandchildren.

    This is because the risk of transmission indoor is still high. Physical contact could raise the risk of spreading/catching the coronavirus.

    The government still asks that we refrain from physical contact with anyone we do not live with. However, experts appear divided on whether hugging should be allowed or not. Many state that a quick hug may be a low-risk activity that would be hugely appreciated by people deprived of social contact for so many months.

    Can grandparents be visited at home?

    Yes – according to the current guidance grandparents can also be visited in their home by other households.

    Credit: Getty Images

    However it is important to note though that, although we can now see grandparents and grandchildren, people over the age of 70 and those with underlying health conditions should still take extra precautions to protect their health.

    People who are clinically vulnerable (people over the age of 70, regardless of medical conditions), are now allowed to follow the same rules as everyone else. But they should still be extra vigilant in maintaining social distancing and hygiene measures.

    MORE: Soft play centres reopening: when will soft play centres open up again?

    If you, or a grandparent (or parent) are in the extremely vulnerable category, you should also have received a letter or advice from your GP on the measures you should be taking during the pandemic to protect your health.

    Meeting up outside still lowers the risk of infection significantly for example, so you may feel more comfortable meeting grandparents and grandchildren in gardens, perhaps.

    The British public are still urged to follow all social distancing and hygiene measures too. This includes washing your hands often and for 20 seconds. As well as not sharing any communal items, wearing a mask, and keeping a safe social distance of 1+ metres.

    Can grandchildren stay with grandparents?

    Children are allowed to stay with grandparents overnight according to the government rules on Covid-19 from 4 July 2020.

    But again, the rules state that the public should use ‘common sense’ when it comes to shielding vulnerable members of the family. Those shielding appear to be encouraged by the government to make their own risk assessment.